A Much-Needed Conversation

Writer: Nagla Ali

Editor: Abdallah Sobhi

Artist: Shams Elkamash

“Welcome back,” he said, walking back to his chair. I looked around to my sides to see how beauty was etched on the walls, in every possible way. Flowers made their way around his chair with golden and red roses, colorful fruits hung from the trees. “Tell me what’s wrong,” he asked sitting down on his chair.

“I am jealous,” I started saying. “I’m jealous of how everyone seems to be perfectly living while I am drowning in the rotten part of life; I am jealous that everyone seems to know him so well while I am just learning how to deal with him.” I looked down at the ground moving my toes around.

“Why do you think you don’t know him well?” His steady strong voice spoke with ever so softly calmness pouring through that it was contagious.

“Well, I mean, I want to be his friend, but he doesn’t seem to trust me.” I sat down on the floor looking at him, willing that he would understand what was never spoken before.

“What makes you think he doesn’t trust you? If he didn’t trust you, you wouldn’t be where you are now.” He said, looking down at me with such soft, calming aurora.

“Well, why don’t you tell me why he didn’t let me get the full mark in the last test? You saw me studying and you saw me up all night! Why didn’t he trust to make me get a full mark? Why am I never perfect?” I whispered the last part with immediate guilt making it’s way into my heart. I felt naked, letting those pent up words tumble out of my mouth. I heard him taking his breath. He’s going to be angry.

Suddenly, my mind is no longer here. I was back at home and I can already tell that it was the day I got the test results back. I saw myself coming home with my test results in hand. My face was pure happiness and giddiness. “Mom, I got the full mark!” I screamed at the top of my lungs as soon as I entered. My mom was cooking something on the cook but got startled by my scream. The metal spoon she was holding fell into the pot, making half of the soup flow out and hit my mom’s chest. It was boiling hot. She screams out loud and rushes toward the fridge looking for ice. I look back to see myself rushing out of my bag and running toward her helping. I throw the paper on the floor. It was ruined by the hot boiling soup. It was useless.

“Maybe something else would have happened and you wouldn’t even think that your full mark is a big deal. Maybe, God Forbid, someone gets sick!” His voice snaps me out of my daze and I look at him. Maybe it isn’t such a big deal.

“You have to trust him, Nagla. You ought to have faith in him and let him guide you,” he whispered the last part standing close to me.

“If I trust him and have faith in him, would I get the best?” I asked back, sitting down on the floor, and played around with the small fruits falling from the trees.

“You would get the best you deserve, not the best you wish to deserve. A lot of you people mistake life for a one winner race where you have to work so hard to be that one winner. You don’t know that sometimes, maybe sometimes, winning isn’t what you need, and losing isn’t what you fear,” he said, walking towards the big tree decorated with red honey-glazed apples.

“Faith (n.) complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, reliance, hopefulness etc.” I repeated what I wrote several times in my English notebook. It was last week’s new word. Every week we would each get a different word to write an essay about. My word was faith. I didn’t understand what faith was or how one could have complete trust in someone or something.

“My mom kept telling me to study something; you have to keep repeating it over and over. I kept repeating the word faith over and over in my head. While doing dishes, while cleaning the house, on the way to school, and on the way back to home. I still couldn’t understand how to just trust someone to bring me the best, when I was supposed to bring me the best and control it,” I said, marching towards the bush of roses.

“Repeating it across your head is different from repeating it across your heart,” he said while going back to his chair and sitting down.

“To have faith, you have to know that there’s something much bigger than you out there that will help you out; it knows what you are going through and what you will go through and it will help you out and get you what you deserve,” he explained.

“I want you to go back now and work your hardest, treat your mom in a good way, love who you are and yourself, and have complete trust and faith in him. He will bring you what you deserve, even if I know that’s not what you want. It’s what you need.”

“Can I at least hope for something better than what I already have? It’s getting hard to stay in the rotten part of life. Everyone is climbing up so high and I cannot compete; my hands and legs are tied to a never dying rock,” I speak softly with tears falling down my cheeks. I am finally letting it all. I am letting all the pent up tears I hid from my mom, from my friends, and from everyone out. Each teardrop that falls hits my knees trailing down to the beautiful colorful ground. It’s okay being not okay as long as you know you will make it out.

“One cannot have faith without hoping! When you have hope, you have faith. You go around your house, doing dishes, cleaning the house, on the way to school, or on the way back to home with a chant in your ears saying, ‘ I hope tomorrow will be better.’ ‘ I hope I will make it out of the rotten part of life.’ You have no tangible proof that you will make it; you walk through yesterday’s ash, knee deep in your problems, but you know that your fingertips are touching the sky. You have that golden thread made of all the times we’ve met the past years, of all the prayers of all the sweat, and all the sleepless nights. You have faith,” he said with a soft smile, reaching out to touch my face.

In a burst of light, I felt it. I felt the hot golden liquid running through my veins, working their way, and planting roses in every hole I pinched inside myself. It kept running and running throughout my whole body, leaving trails of beautiful red, golden, and white roses. The second this golden liquid touched my heart, I was thrown up to cloud 9. Flowers bloomed their way in my heart, with mesmerizing lavenders, sunflowers twisted around themselves making their way out my heart and out of my body to move away from me. This is the golden thread. I trust you. The more tranquility I felt, the more this thread got stronger with more honey. I looked down towards my chest to see it getting stronger. I felt my demons getting quieter and quieter. I closed my eyes. enjoying the sense of tranquility before it all turned white and I couldn’t see anything.

“Nagla!” I woke up to someone shaking my shoulder. I squinted my eyes open to see my mom looking at me with concern etched on her face.

“Whats wrong? Where am I?” I said with tiredness making my voice thick as hell. I coughed so hard, my whole body shaking.

“You were praying and suddenly you slept on the mat. Are you okay honey? I got so scared, I thought you died! You wouldn’t wake up for an hour and half!” My mom said with her hands rubbing my shoulder blades.

That’s when it hit me!

It was truly a much needed conversation.